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Fife College team wins 2017 Brakes Scotland Student Chef Challenge

08 June 2017 by
Fife College team wins 2017 Brakes Scotland Student Chef Challenge

A team from Fife College won the 2017 Brakes Scotland Student Chef Team Challenge live cook-off final at City of Glasgow College earlier this week.

The winning students beat five other college teams, with City of Glasgow College coming second and SRUC Elmwood Campus taking third.

Nicola Reilly, Rafal Kasprzak and Thomas MacNeil impressed judges Derek Lockett, development chef at Brakes Scotland; Kevin MacGillivray, catering and hospitality manager at the National Trust for Scotland; Robbie Penman, head chef at the Peebles Hydro hotel; and Paul Hart, head chef at Gleneagles hotel.

The winners' prizes include three days' work experience at Gleneagles hotel an the team will also represent Scotland at the Nations Cup in Michigan in October.

Entrants to this year's competition, supported by HIT Scotland and Federation of Chefs Scotland, were challenged to create a three-course, four-cover menu inspired by Scottish food and drink in one hour and 45 minutes.

The winning menu featured a starter of Scrabster-landed loin of cod with seaweed gremolata, crispy skin, cauliflower cheese and pickled onions; and a main of wild Cairngorm loin of venison, venison haggis, whiskey turnip fondant, truffle celeriac purée, and game jus. Dessert was chocolate crémeux, Drambuie savarin, Scottish berries and lime curd ice-cream.

Teams from South Lanarkshire College, Fife College, City of Glasgow College and three teams from SRUC Elmwood Campus were selected to compete in the final following an initial paper judging stage.

Lead judge MacGilvaray said: "The standard of cooking on display today was exceptional, with the Fife College team displaying the perfect combination of teamwork, technique and imagination to pip the other teams to the title. Their menu was beautifully executed and demonstrated a wonderful interpretation of the ‘Scottish food and drink' competition theme."

Michael Henderson, chef-lecturer at Fife College, said: "Hours of preparation, development and constant refinement got us to this stage. It's a different environment than what the students are used to, and nothing prepares them for cooking in front of a panel of judges. The pressure was really on but the hard work paid off."

John McLintock, operations director for Brakes Scotland, added: "I encourage all students to get involved in competitions like the Student Chef Challenge. Competitions helps to replicate the pressure the students will experience when they move into the workplace, something you can't teach at college, and gives them huge confidence and belief that what they are doing is right."

Brakes Scotland announces final line-up for 2017 Student Chef Challenge >>

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